Pittsburgh, PA Storm, Aug 1895


Two Lives Sacrificed and Many Persons Injured

The Tornado Comes Quickly and Without Warning and Caught Everybody Unprepared

Pittsburg, PA, Aug 19 – Last night’s storm was the most terrific and destructive that has visited this city in many years. It came without warning and at a time when the parks were filled with people and the rivers with boats crowded with excursionists. As far as known at this time two lives were lost, a score of persons were injured, two it is thought, fatally, and property damaged to the extent of $100,000.

The dead are:
Millie Linbaugh, cook on the steamer Lud Keefer, drowned
Unknown woman, blown from the Point Bridge

Those probably fatally injured are:
Patrick Shea, fireman on the West End Electric railroad power house.
John Adams, conductor, Second avenue traction line

At least others were injured more or less seriously by being hit by flying debris, but their names have not been obtained.

The storm struck the city about 10 o’clock and was over in about half an hour. But in that brief time death and widespread destruction were left in its track. The rain came down in torrents and was accompanied by vivid lightning and terrific wind.

Houses were unroofed, trees uprooted and fences and out houses demolished. So tremendous was the force of the tornado that the steamers Lud Keefer, Little Bill and Arlington were overturned and many barges, coal boats and small crafts torn from their moorings and sent adrift.

The passenger barge, Dakota, was forced against the Smithfield street bridge and the side crushed in. She sank in several feet of water. When the storm struck the Keefer, Captain Keefer, Mate Miller and Millie Linbaugh, the cook, and two colored chambermaids were on board, but all reached the shore in safety except Millie Linbaugh, who became exhausted and was drowned.

The steamer, Courier, with 400 passengers on board, was swept with water and the passengers became panic stricken, but Captain Klein succeeded in making a landing at Painter’s Mills and all were discharged from the boat in safety. While the wind was at its highest an unknown woman attempted to cross the Point Bridge. She was caught in a whirlwind and blown into the river and drowned.

The day had been extremely hot and thousands of people were at Schenly [sic] Park. When the storm came on there was a rush for shelter. The wind had prostrated the electric light wires and several women were seriously shocked by coming in contact with them. On Second avenue a feed wire was broken and in attempting to repair it, Conductor Adams was seriously shocked. He is still living, but has never recovered consciousness. On the south side, the large grain elevator of Henderson & Johnson, in course of construction, was almost completely demolished. The heavy iron girders fell on a row of tenement houses and crushed them, but fortunately the occupants were away from home.

Two freight cars on the Pittsburg and Lake Roads were lifted from the tracks and blown into the Monongahela River. Portions of the Monongahela and Castle Shannon inclines were carried away by the winds and demolished. On the north side (Allegheny) great damage was done to small buildings and many trees were uprooted in the parks but as far as reported no person was seriously injured.

On Arch street, in this city, a new brick building was blown over, crushing a double frame dwelling adjoining, occupied by Mrs. Dally with one child and Mrs. Pryor with three children. When the building went down, Mrs. Pryor and her oldest child, a son, escaped, but the two smaller children were buried in the debris. The same fate caught Mrs. Dally and her child.

An alarm was sent in from box 65, but before the firemen got there a number of men had dug the people out and found them all unhurt.

Picnic parties returning home by way of the Brownsville road had a rough experience. The tornado broke lose while nearly 500 persons were scattered along the road. When the storm came up everybody rushed to the fences to hold on and keep from being blown over. The wind tore up the fences and blew men, women and children to and fro. Everybody got soaking wet and many were slightly injured. Great damage was also reported to the houses along the road, while giant trees were twisted and hurled across the road.

Many barns were completely destroyed. The storm prostrated all local telegraph and telephone wires, but the through wires were only interrupted for a short time. The rainfall was .45 inch and the wind had a velocity of fifty miles an hour.

Pittsburg, Aug. 19 – Another life was lost during the storm, making the death list three. Archibald Sohuie was blown into the river and drowned while trying to tighten the lines of some barges in the west end. He was married and had a large family.

The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN 19 Aug 1895

History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania 1889 Read it online

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania : personal and genealogical, with portraits Read it online

History of Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania 1886 Read it online

Allegheny County : a sesqui-centennial review 1938 Read it online

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